july, august, september 2016: what I’ve been reading & watching

I decided to do a vlog this time because I had lots of stuff to talk about and I figured it would be easier to do a vlog than spend tons of time writing up all my opinions.  And it was lots of fun, probably the easiest + most enjoyable vlog I’ve done so far. (I’ve only made two others, but whatever.)  If anyone has ideas for more vlogs I could do, give ’em to me!  And to clarify, I’ve actually read more books + watched more movies than what I said in the video (just a few more, though), but it’s a rough estimate.  Just so you know.

What have you been reading and watching lately?



the magnificent seven: still magnificent


Yesterday, my family celebrated my grandpa’s birthday.  It was a great time, filled with yummy food and fun gifts and lots of happy moments.  And, afterwards, Grandpa, my four oldest siblings (Noah, Ezra, Elisabeth, and Rebekah), and I all sat down to watch The Magnificent Seven together.  It was the first time Grandpa had seen it (which was a surprise, because he loves watching old movies) and he really, really enjoyed it.  My other siblings have all seen Mag7 about as many times as I have (seven?  eight?) and they didn’t pay much attention this time around.  But since it is my favorite movie of all time, I focused pretty much all my attention on it.

Despite this being, in all actuality, probably the tenth time I’ve seen Mag7, I still loved it just as much as the first time I saw it.  So who cares that I have every piece of dialogue memorized? (I’m not kidding.)  Not to mention every scene and every piece of music and almost every camera angle.  It’s still epic.  And since the new Mag7 movie recently hit theatres, I figured it was time to discuss my love for the original some more.  Because I haven’t done that for a while, and it’s Important.  (However, contrary to my loud exclamations of disgust when I watched the first trailer for the new movie, I’m not dead-set against the remake.  But I’m still pretty wary.  I mean, the original Mag7 is very nearly flawless.  What could compete with that?)


Anyway, I thought I’d just share a bunch of random things that stood out to me during this viewing, mostly little things.

  • My favorite scene is still Britt’s introductory scene.  Then the hearse scene.  Love the music in that.
  • Bernardo is my favorite character after Britt.
  • That score is still utterly amazing.  I could listen to it all day.  I particularly like how it plays throughout the scenes when the six (later to be seven, of course) are riding to the village for the first time.  In fact, I really enjoy that whole sequence.
  • Dialogue!  Still makes me a little sad in places, a little melancholy in others.  But most of it just makes me grin a whole lot.
  • Seriously, this movie is my happy place.  I mean, I can watch it anytime, anywhere, in whatever mood, and still slip effortlessly into a world of gunmen, gorgeous scenery, heart-tugging subplots and characters arcs, and lots and lots of epic music.  There are very few movies/TV shows/books that make me feel that way, and Mag7 is probably at the very top of the list.
  • All the scene-stealing stuff that everyone (but especially Steve McQueen) does is hilarious.
  • “Nobody throws me my own guns and says ‘Run’.  Nobody.”  Britt, you are still awesome.  Also, I love the death glare you give the farmers after Chico comes in and ruins everything by dramatically telling everyone that Calvera is coming back.
  • There’s so much poignancy to the ending.  I can’t stand it. (But, at the same time, I love it.)
  • Those little Mexican kids that ‘adopt’ Bernardo are adorable.
  • This is one of those movies I wish I could go back and watch all over again.
  • Okay, so after watching this movie about ten times, I think I’m finally starting to ‘get’ Chico.  Maybe it’s because I’m growing up a little myself, but I can understand him a little better.  I mean, he basically hero-worships these guys and he’s trying really hard to be like them while also trying to forget his past and stifle the call of his old life.  I still don’t like him, not by a long shot, but I understand him.  And I really do like how he decides to settle down in the end.
  • That ‘arithmetic’ scene. *snifffff*
  • Basically, I defy the remake.  Be as amazing as you like, but you will never, ever measure up to the original.  And that’s just the way it is.



my top ten favorite book to movie adaptions


Me, after writing this blog post while also juggling college stuff and writing.

Books.  Movies.  Both awesome, right?  And while I’m pretty sure I like reading books more than watching movies, sometimes it’s a toss-up.  (Particularly right after I’ve read a meh book and watched an awesome movie.)  One thing all bookworms can agree on, though, is that The Hollywood Powers That Be rarely get their book-to-movie adaptions right, and that’s a shame.  However.  There are some book-to-film adaptions that stand out above the rest, thankfully, and today I want to talk about my favorites.  My list isn’t some comprehensive cheat-sheet of the very best literary movie adaptions ever – these are simply my personal favorites.  And they’re listed in chronological order, because why not?  Also, spoilers.  Maybe.  I dunno.  And does it really matter?  Because I don’t think people actually steer clear of spoiler warnings – I know I don’t. (Seriously, guys, do you?  I’m curious.)

(By the way, I’m not including book-to-miniseries adaptions on this list.  Just so you know.)

Little Men {1934} This little-known gem can be watched for free here (public domain, I’m assuming).  LiviaRachelle recommended it to me a while back and I’ve since watched it twice.  Closely follows the book in all the important areas (despite its only being about an hour and ten minutes in length) and besides a few small changes, even the dialogue is faithful.  Plus, from what I’ve seen of all the other adaptions of Little Men, Frankie Darro’s portrayal of Dan is probably the best ever.

A Tale of Two Cities {1935}This version of ATOTC is about as spot-on as a book-to-film movie can be, in my opinion.  Ronald Colman really carries the movie, I think, and the rest of the cast is great as well (particularly Basil Rathbone *shivers*).  Plus, outstanding production quality throughout makes this an adaption of Charles Dickens’ mighty work that will thrill lovers of classics everywhere. (And, you know, this was one of the first movies to ever make me cry.  So it’s special that way, too.)

Gone With the Wind {1939} – BEST.  I have to say that I prefer the book (as is nearly always the case), but I think the movie did an amazing job of capturing the epic scope of Gone With the Wind, as well as the characters. (Except Will. *sigh*)  There’s a reason GWTW is one of the most iconic and well-loved films of all time: from the superb cast to the fascinating story and, of course, the sweeping music – not to mention the costumes.  This is a movie to swoon over.

To Kill a Mockingbird {1962} – I’m so glad TKAM was filmed in black & white.  Like Schindler’s List, this is the kind of story that wouldn’t feel right in colour.  Definitely not.  Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch…well, you’d be hard pressed to find a better, more faithful portrayal of any fictional character.  This movie is stark and sobering and so, so good, plus it’s one of the most faithful literary adaptions I’ve ever seen.

The Outsiders {1983} – Just so we’re clear, whenever I talk about The Outsiders movie on this blog, I’m talking about the Complete Novel Edition.  Only way to watch it, in my opinion.  Anyway, this movie has a perfect cast (who all went on to be famous) and it captures the spirit of the book, especially all that raw emotion.  Even though not all the scenes flow together quite as well as I’d have liked and the soundtrack gets a little jarring at times, I still love this movie.

Little Women {1994} – While I don’t like Little Women (the book) as much as Little Men, I adore this movie adaption.  Best cast, of the three adaptions I’ve seen, and the music makes me choke up just because of how beautiful it is. (Like the soundtrack for the Anne of Green Gables movies.)  There’s something delightfully homey and charming and even Christmasy about this movie. *happy sigh*

Pride & Prejudice {2005} – Now, I’ll admit I haven’t seen this film in a long while, but it will ever remain my favorite adaption of Pride & Prejudice.  Can I get a ‘yes’?  Because I know that so many people like A&E’s ’95 version better, but, personally, I find it forgettable.  Kiera Knightley is Elizabeth Bennet, with all her wit and spirit, and I believe that, even though this adaption isn’t as faithful as others, it completely captures the tone and general feel of the book.  It really does.

True Grit {2010} – One time where I actually liked the movie better than the book.  For me, the book was dry and flat and a little dull, but the movie brings what is honestly a splendid story to life.  Living, breathing, wild and emotional and, overall, an exquisite film.  Love the soundtrack, love Jeff Bridges, and Hailee Steinfeld is exceptionally amazing as Mattie Ross.

Catching Fire {2013} – Because of my mom’s obsession with all things Hunger Games, I’ve probably seen this movie six or seven times.  It never gets old.  I believe that the soundtrack is richest and fullest out of the four films and it’s the most well-made movie of the franchise, too.  And what can I say about the cast?  You all know who they are and how wonderfully they fit their roles.  Easily a ten-out-of-ten rating when it comes to book accuracy.

Unbroken {2014} – Yes, it’s nonfiction.  But Unbroken was one of the most highly anticipated movies I’ve ever seen (do you know how many times I watched the trailers?) and it delivered, in almost every way.  (Except for cutting out everything that happened to Louie post-war.)  The cast was perfect (how many times have I said that in this post?), the cinematography was gorgeous, and the music was powerful.  The only reason I haven’t watch it more recently is because I couldn’t handle it…so much violence, so many emotions.  But also so inspirational.


What are some of the best book-to-film adaptions, in your opinion?


captain america: civil war {first thoughts}

(At least, first thoughts besides “ASODADIIOAPOFJDG’seiojoaAOIJWOORILFJM”.)

Yes, I watched Captain America: Civil War yesterday and, yes, it was utterly amazing.  And emotional.  And one of the most epic movies I’ve ever seen.  Ever.  So where do I even begin?  There’s so much to talk about, especially since Captain America and Bucky and Peggy and all the rest of them have been a semi-huge part of my life for over two years.  And I’ve waited for this movie for so long that, now that I’ve seen it, I don’t really know what to say.  It was so BIG, with all the characters and battles and the whole scope and force of the MCU behind it.

Well, for starters, I’m glad that I’d only seen a couple clips on Youtube and hadn’t spent hours going through spoiler-y pins on Pinterest because it was neat, not knowing how everything would turn out in the end (though also very intense at times).    It’s rare that I go into a movie this big without knowing pretty much everything about it, but it honestly surprised me in a lot of places.  Stuff happened that I didn’t think was going to, that I hadn’t even heard of (the other Winter Soldiers, for instance).  And some things that I already knew about (or thought I did) ended up going in a completely different direction than how I assumed they would.

The only thing I didn’t like, besides the language, was that CW didn’t seem as personal as the first two films.  Sure, Steve and Bucky’s friendship was still an integral part of the story, but the movie wasn’t really about them.  And since there was huge emotional set-up for a satisfying conclusion to their relationship in TFA and TWS, the lack of focus on them was a bit disappointing.  Actually, this movie felt more like an Avengers film than a Captain America film.  But I can live with that, because it was awesome. (And it was still incredibly feelsy.  Everyone’s fighting each other and Bucky is a wreck and Peggy DIES.  Ugggggh.)

(Oh, and I am definitely not a Steve + Sharon shipper.  Not because I think Steve shouldn’t have any woman in his life because he should ‘stay true to Peggy’ but because, you know, Sharon is Peggy’s niece.  And I think that’s more than a little weird.)

I loved all the characters, especially since CW is the first movie I’ve seen most of them in: Tony, Vision, Wanda, Clint, T’Challa, Peter Parker, War Machine, Ant-Man…so, yeah.  It’s kind of stupid that I’ve never seen any of them before because I’m such a big Marvel fan, but that’s how it is.  Anyway, I really liked them all (even Tony) and I think the writers did a good job of giving each character a role and a purpose in the movie.  And nobody really got swallowed up in the plot, which was nice.  Chris Evans was thoroughly amazing as Steve, of course, as was Sebastian Stan as Bucky.  I’ve known these characters for so long and it was wonderful to see them again.  Same with Sam and Natasha.

That’s about all I can think of to say for right now.  You can ask me any questions about my opinions and thoughts on any part of this film in the comments.  Let the fangirling begin!


P.S. All those fight/chase scenes… GUYS.

busy, busy, busy

For the first time in my life, I understand a little of what college life is like.  Since the new school year started, my grandfather has begun three college courses with me – British Literature, The Life of Christ, and a worldview course – and I have a stack of books to read and DVDs to watch that’s about half as tall as me.  Whew.  Plus, I’m finally (for the first time in several months) getting serious about my writing, so that’s going to take up a considerable amount of my time as well.  I have four or five projects that I really want to work on right now (writing and sewing both) and there aren’t enough hours in the day. (Well, there are, but just barely.)  And I want to keep posting here, too.  Do you see my dilemma?


My college work comes first.  I usually meet with my grandfather once a day (could be upped to twice a day, though) and we go over the stuff I’ve read and learned in between.  Then I have to go and read more stuff. (And we usually watch a DVD together.)  Then comes writing.  The main thing that got me serious about writing again was this: God has given me the gift of writing.  I really believe that.  And since He’s given it to me, it would be incredibly wrong to squander that gift and let it drift away for lack of actual doing.  Totally wrong.  Hence, I must write. (Anyway, I’m excited to start writing again simply because I went over several of my stories when I was organizing my documents and they aren’t actually half bad.  In fact, some of them are pretty good, in my unprofessional opinion.  WOOT.)  After college stuff and writing, I have chores and cooking meals and sewing projects and living in general.

Then, and only then, can I work on other things.  Like blogging, emailing, watching movies, and reading books that aren’t Required.  And Pinteresting.  Always Pinteresting. *wink*  Will it be hard to cram all that in?  Sure.  But I’m not worried, because I have God and an awesome family and plenty of determination. 

I’m optimistic.


five good reasons to watch ‘psych’

Every time I think I’ve read all the good books in the world, a book like The Outsiders come along.  Every time I think I’ve watched all the good movies in the world, a movie like Treasure Planet comes along.  And every time I think I’ve obsessed over every good TV show in the world, a show like Psych comes along.

For some inexplicable reason, my grandparents only owned the fifth season (there are eight) when I first became aware of the show so my siblings and I started watching in the middle of some plot lines and character arcs that I wish we’d been able to see from the beginning, but c’est la vie.  Anyway, the first few episodes were funny (hilarious, actually) and the mysteries were pretty interesting, but the show hadn’t really grabbed me yet.  I have a problem with shows that are purely comedy in that the characters are usually slight caricatures and there isn’t really anything serious about them that I can grab onto and really love.  However.  We were on the seventh or eighth episode (I forget exactly which one) and as the seriously awesome intro was playing, it suddenly hit me that “I LOVE THIS SHOW AND THESE CHARACTERS SO MUCH”.  Which I actually kinda sorta shouted out loud.  My siblings thought I was crazy.

So, yeah, I’m obsessed, and they’re obsessed, and it’s so much fun.  And here are five reasons why YOU need to be watching Psych right now.

(Before we jump in, though, I have to say – as a disclaimer – that I haven’t seen every episode, so I can’t fully endorse the show.  And of the episodes I have seen, there have been several with mild-to-medium adult content, innuendo, disturbing/frightening scenes, and plenty of language.  If you haven’t seen the show yet and you’d like a bit more detail on the language or whatever and what episodes I wouldn’t recommend watching with little kids, just send me an email.)

On to the list!

#1 – It’s funny.

Keep telling yourself that, Shawn, because I'm going to keep watching this gif

And I don’t mean that lightly.  It’s funny and crazy and wacky and full-out ‘laugh until your sides ache’ hilarious.  It takes a lot to make me really, truly laugh (Get Smart is another one of the rare shows that can, by the way) but, I mean, I’m literally cracking up right now just thinking of some of the one-liners and scenes.  The writers must have had an insanely fun time writing the episodes because I think they were able to take whatever random, silly idea came into their heads and run with it.  Honestly, just watch this show for the laughs. (Sight gags, slapstick, and zingy dialogue all rolled into one.)

#2 – The characters.

Shawn, Gus, Lassiter, Juliet, the Chief, Shawn’s Dad, Buzz…all unique, all memorable, and all incredibly well fleshed-out as characters (since they had eight years to do so).  Unlike in Monk (which I still love), where pretty much all the focus is on Monk, who never changes, the subtle character development in Psych is phenomenal.  Yes, the show is mostly about the murder mysteries and humor and all that, but no character is the same in Season 8 as they were in Season 1.  Shawn and Gus’ friendship alone makes Psych a show worth watching (especially if you love ‘best buddies since kindergarten’ friendships) but, goodness, what all the characters go through, how they change and mature (Shawn, I’m looking at you)…I love character growth so much!  And there’s probably even more than what I’m remembering because I haven’t seen all the episodes and my siblings and I tend to skip around the seasons a lot.

#3 – The ship.

First meeting… ❤

SHIPSHIPSHIP. *alllllll the heart-eyes*  Shawn and Juliet, aka one of the most adorable couples to ever grace the television screen, even though they take eight seasons to finally, truly get together.  Which I don’t really mind because I think Shawn had a lot of growing up to do before he was ready for a serious relationship.  Plus, there was that bump in the road to wedded bliss when (spoilers!) Juliet found out that Shawn wasn’t really psychic.  But they are so incredibly sweet together (and their relationship does progress instead of always being at the ‘awkward flirting’ level), which I love.  As one of my friends said, TV show ships are so much more satisfying than movie ships because the couple gets more time together. (Just like book versus series, I suppose.)  And in the case of Shules (don’t you love ship names?), I heartily agree.

#4 – The guest stars.

I’d say that Psych is the modern Combat! when it comes to prolific actors/actresses getting guest star roles.  Like, for instance, Ponyboy and Johnny!  Ahem.  I meeeean C. Thomas Howell (who plays a jerk, but I don’t care, ’cause it’s PONYBOY) and Ralph Macchio (who appears in two episodes and one of them has all kinds of references to The Karate Kid and it’s great).  And Christopher Lloyd, whose character actually says “Great Scott!” (I know, I know…it’s too awesome) and Lesley Ann Warren and Franka Potente (playing a very Bourne-ish role) and John Rhys-Davies (he guest stars in the Indiana Jones parody episode) and a bunch of other famous names and guest stars we’ve also seen on Monk.  Pretty cool. (Who am I kidding?  It’s seriously cool.) (EDIT: William Shatner also guest stars as Juliet’s Dad.  Forgot about him, perhaps because I’m not a Trekkie.)

#5 – The episodes.

Well, duh, of course the episodes.  They make up the show.  But what I mean is…what the writers do with the episodes.  Tons of movie parodies, for one (most of them for movies I haven’t seen, but I don’t care).  Like a parody of the Indiana Jones films (complete with ‘plane moving over map as red highlighter charts the hero’s course’ thing).  The Shining.  Friday the 13th.  Clue.  American Idol. (Not a movie, technically, but still.)  Twin Peaks. (Again, not a movie, but STILL.)  National Treasure.  Hitchcock films.  Bollywood movies.  Spanish soap operas.  It’s A Wonderful Life.  They even have a musical episode.  Just let that sink in for a minute.  A special, hour and a half episode with over ten original songs and a killer plot.  What.  Oh, and they also remade one of their own episodes.  Plus, there’s tons of 80s’ pop culture references throughout the whole show – mostly movies.  Like Back to the Future.  And The Karate Kid. (Shawn: *valiantly tries to replicate the Crane Kick in a life-or-death struggle* “If I execute this properly…no. can. defend.” *guy punches him through the wall*)

So, do you want to watch Psych now?  I hope so!  Have you already seen episodes of this show?  Do you find it silly or stupid or sweet?  Or all three?  Let me know in the comments. 🙂





nineteen before nineteen: a birthday bucket list

I’m eighteen today, guys.


Honestly, I’m having a hard time believing it myself – I feel the same as I did yesterday.  Eighteen is a big milestone, though, and reaching it is amazing.  So much has happened in the past year and at first I considered writing a blog post about all of that, but I finally decided to do a bucket list instead.  The New Year’s Tag usually catches everything that happens in my life (all the important stuff, at least) and I’ve seen this idea for a bucket list drifting around the blogosphere for quite some time.  Here goes!

1. Read the Bible through in one month.  I tried this one time before, but I ended up skimming far more than I read.  With my new-found faith and love for God’s Word, I can’t wait to do this in whichever month I chose.

2. Own a cat.  My grandparents have an adorable cat and I’ve recently realized that I’d love to have one of my own.  We shall see.

My grandparents' cat, Chloe.

My grandparents’ cat, Chloe.

3. Vote.  Since this is the first year I can.

4. Finish editing The Bounty Hunter This has been an on-going project for at least a year and it’s time that I got serious about it.  The characters are near and dear to my heart, though I have to admit that on paper, they don’t seem like much (just in my head).  And I know I can do it, too.

5. Participate in a walk for a charity.  I think it would be fun and, more importantly, helpful.  And in that same vein…

6. Donate blood.  Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

7. Meet at least one of my internet friends.  Right now, I don’t see how that could happen, but I can always hope (and pray).  I’ve made so many good friends online in the past several years and being able to meet one (or more) of them face-to-face would be fantastic.

8. Lose weight.  The on-going battle. *wink*


9. Finish coloring my Romeo & Juliet adult coloring book.  It’s absolutely gorgeous, girls, and I know it will be even more stunning once it’s all colored in.  There are beautiful quotes from the play on each page, including my personal favorite: “…Give me my Romeo.  And when I shall die / Take him and cut him out in little stars / And he will make the face of heaven so fine / That all the world will be in love with night…”  Gahhhhh.

10. Throw someone a surprise birthday party.  Haven’t figured out who just yet, but I enjoy planning events, so that’ll be tons of fun.

11. Make a significant dent in the amount of books on my shelves that I haven’t read yet.  As in, reading them.  Not throwing them out.  Duh.  I’d say about a third of the books on my shelves have never been read. (Embarrassing, right?)

12. Comment on more blog posts.  While I think I’m pretty good about replying to just about every comment I get on my blog, I hardly ever comment on the posts of others – even best friends’ blogs. (Which is kind of stupid.)  But I know the thrill of seeing a new comment waiting to be read, so I feel like I should interact more with the blogs I follow.

13. Learn ASL (American Sign Language).  Ever since I started watching Sue Thomas F.B. Eye, I’ve been fascinated with ASL and since my family owns a couple of books on how to learn the language (and I have two sisters who are enthusiastic about it as well) I can’t wait to give it a try.

Deaf Culture<3 this sign almost has more impact to me than just SAYING the words.:

14. Spend less time online.  In the past few months I’ve started doing this more and more but I know that I could be spending even less time on my laptop and more time reading, cooking, hanging out with my family, etc., etc.

15. Cosplay.  Yesssssss.

16. Take over the cooking/baking in my home completely.  I already do a good amount work in the kitchen (creating delicious meals is one of my favorite things to do) but I think it would be a big help to Mom + great experience for me to do everything (maybe even menu planning), especially with school starting so soon.

17. Watch Captain America: Civil War.  I have waited so, so long, you guys.  Definitely needs to happen sometime SOON.

18. Host a read-along on this blog.  Hamlette, over at The Edge of the Precipice, has hosted several read-alongs and it looks like great fun.  And since I love books so much, I think a read-along would be a perfect way to get everyone reading/talking about one of my favorites.  Still haven’t made a decision about which one to read, yet, though I’m leaning toward The Outsiders (though that could just be because it’s my current book crush).  Any suggestions?

19. Spend more time focusing on the Things That Matter and less time on the things that don’t.  Pretty self-explanatory, right?

So, those are my hopes and plans for this coming year, guys.  What are your thoughts?